20 Books to Read After Paper Towns

Paper TownsAfter devouring John Green’s romantic road trip epic Paper Towns, you’re going to need something to keep the feels going. We recommend the books below, filled with crushes and kisses, heartbreak and family drama, and daring leaps into the unknown.

Saint Anything, by Sarah Dessen
Despite his rebellious behavior, Sydney’s older brother, Peyton, has always been the apple of his parents’ eyes. But when he cripples another teen in a drunk driving accident, resulting in Peyton’s imprisonment, the family starts to unravel. While seeking an escape from her stifling home life, Sydney meets Layla, the daughter of local pizza shop owners. Layla’s family embraces Sydney, who finds herself increasingly drawn to their imperfect but loving household—and to Layla’s brother, Mac.

Thirteen Reasons Why, by Jay Asher
Two weeks after the suicide of his classmate and secret crush Hannah, Clay comes home to find she’s left him both a package and a mission. Through her recorded voice on the cassette tapes left on his doorstep, Hannah guides him through the thirteen reasons she chose to end her life, most tangled up with the casual cruelty of their fellow students. It’s hard not to root for an impossible happy ending as you, along with Clay, fall in love with the sensitive, deeply introspective Hannah, and learn how even the smallest interactions have the power to changes a life, or save it.

Since You’ve Been Gone, by Morgan Matson
At the start of what should be an epic summer, Emily’s best friend drops out of her life, disappearing with her parents and ignoring Emily’s calls and texts. But she leaves something behind for her introverted bestie: a mailed list of dares Emily must complete by the end of summer, designed to draw her out of her shell and send her on a solo adventure. With the help of tasks like “Go skinny-dipping” and “Kiss a stranger,” Emily moves out of sidekick mode and into the starring role of her own life, while forming a new friendship with an intriguing boy named Frank.

Where She Went (If I Stay series #2), by Gayle Forman
If I Stay spoilers ahead!
At the end of If I StayMia chooses life, rededicating herself to her art. In follow-up Where She Went, she and Adam reunite in New York City three years later, where Mia’s Juilliard successes are shadowed by her painful past, and now-successful rocker Adam’s still not over the girl who was his muse. This is a cathartic after love story, that may or may not end in a new beginning for two relatably flawed characters.

Fangirl (B&N Exclusive Collector’s Edition), by Rainbow Rowell
Cath is bad with change, and she isn’t going to let a little thing like college get in the way of the thing she loves best: writing her hugely popular Simon Snow fanfic, based on the Harry Potter-esque invented book series she adores. As her twin sister, Wren, dives into keggers, dorm friendships, and self-reinvention, Cath hides out in Snow’s world, refusing to assimilate to campus life. But eventually she discovers there are upsides to leaving her laptop: chief among them, Levi, a perfectly imperfect boy, and the opportunity to find her own writing voice without the help of Simon Snow.

The Beginning of Everything, by Robyn Schneider
High school tennis player Ezra is on his way to athletic glory when a car accident destroys his knee and, he believes, his future. But when his life stops going the way he thinks it’s supposed to, some wonderful things happen: he rediscovers old friendships, cultivates new talents, and falls for a whip-smart girl named Cassidy. Cassidy has troubles of her own, and both her happiness and their pair’s romance is threatened by the dark secret she’s hiding.

The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian, by Sherman Alexie
Alexie’s teen alter ego, a geeky Native American who dares to leave the reservation to pursue a better education, will have you in his corner from his opening gambit, a hilarious, heartbreaking accounting of all the physical shortcomings (water on the brain, too many teeth, giant head) that keep him stuck firmly in the lowest social stratosphere. But while you’ll start out laughing, you’ll end the book in tears, both of sadness and of gratitude: this astonishing, hilarious, and humane coming-of-age story is a gift you have to give yourself.

Off the Page, by Jodi Picoult and Samantha van Leer
In Between the Lines, a romance between a reader and her favorite fictional character blooms when a real-world boy agrees to take the character’s place in a book. Now, in follow-up Off the Page, once-fictional Prince Oliver and his real-world girlfriend, Delilah, find that three-dimensional romance comes with unexpected complications. The book from which Oliver sprung demands more than just a simple swap, and begins meddling with both its own story and that of Oliver and Delilah.

Go Ask Alice, by Anonymous
This is the original anti-drug cautionary tale, beloved of young readers for its dark message, its scandalous portrayal of a teen’s descent into addiction, and its alleged “true story” cachet. Fifteen-year-old Alice’s deadly spiral begins with a dosed drink at a party, and advances with horrific rapidity from there. Told through diary-style narration, Alice’s story follows a straight line from average teen-girl concerns, to an addiction that eclipses everything, to a life—and, ultimately, death—on the dark outer reaches of society.

I’ll Give You the Sun, by Jandy Nelson
Twins Jude and Noah were once as close as could be, she a fearless surfer girl, he a passionate artist who sees in technicolor—and is falling helplessly in love with the boy next door. But their mother’s sudden death rips them apart, leaving Jude a shuttered shell of herself and Noah in denial of both his sexuality and his art. Three years later, a new mentor and a damaged boy enter Jude’s life, blowing open her creativity and loosening the latches on her self-hatred. You’ll hold your breath at the beauty of her journey back to Noah and herself.

99 Days, by Katie Cotugno
How to Love author Katie Cotugno is back with another emotionally complex romance, this one set in the tiny town of Star Lake. Years ago, the lingering shame of Molly’s biggest mistake—she cheated on her first love with his brother, becoming a pariah in the process—drove her to skip town for boarding school. (It didn’t help that her author mom wrote a bestseller based on the incident.) Now she’s back in town for one last summer, trying to survive the 99 days until she can escape to college. But she’s quickly sucked back into old patterns, old relationships, and the orbit of the Donnelly boys.

I Am the Messenger, by Markus Zusak
Ed Kennedy’s life is stuck in neutral: he’s a passive, underage, card-playing cab driver who silently pines after one of his best friends. Then a near-accidental act of public heroism results in his being chosen, by some unseen figure, to be a “messenger.” He receives cryptic instructions leading him to the homes of people who need help or punishment—and he faces severe bodily harm if he doesn’t deliver the message to his targets. Ed’s surreal journey is dark and fascinating, and leads him toward a more examined life.

I Was Here, by Gayle Forman
Superstar author Forman’s latest opens with a digital suicide note sent by college freshman Meg to her best friend, Cody. Meg’s death leaves Cody equal parts brokenhearted, guilt-stricken, and pissed off—and when Meg’s grieving parents ask her to clean out their daughter’s college-town bedroom, the task sets her on a path to discovering just how little she knew about her best friend during the final months of her life. Forman’s lucid, lovely prose shines in this story about secrets, guilt, and how rocky the path to healing can be when you have unfinished business with the one you lost.

Vanishing Girls, by Lauren Oliver
Nick and Dara are sisters who define themselves by their differences: Nick’s the responsible one whose achievements are taken for granted, and Dara’s the wild one whose failures are treated as equally unsurprising. Their bone-deep bond is tested by their opposing roles…then broken on the night a car crash that leaves Nick shaken and Dara permanently scarred. As the two spend a long, boiling summer alternately chasing and avoiding each other (and the boy they’re both in love with), a young girl’s disappearance rocks their town, and Nick starts to uncover dangerous secrets about her little sister’s life. It all leads to the kind of explosive ending that will have you closing the book and starting right over from page one.

Mosquitoland, by David Arnold
Over the course of a long, life-changing journey from Mississippi to Cleveland, Mim Malone, blind in one eye and far from okay, faces her demons and creates a makeshift family on the way to reuniting with her sick mother. Arnold’s much-anticipated debut is funny, sharp, and sad in equal measure, and if the world is just, will end up in the hands of many, many teen readers. And OMG, that gorgeous cover!

Love Letters to the Dead, by Ava Dellaira
Laurel works through her grief over the death of her older sister, May, through letters to the famous dead. Starting with Kurt Cobain and working her way through Janis Joplin, Judy Garland, and more, Laurel writes about first love and her falling-apart family, loss and the difficulty of plunging forward in the absence of her big sister’s footsteps to guide her. Ultimately hers is a story of learning to walk her own path, and figuring out how to both accept and forgive the imperfections of the people she loves—May included.

Skin and Bones, by Sherry Shahan
Jack and his roommate, David, are the only boys in the hospital’s Eating Disorder Unit, with diseases on the opposite end of the spectrum: Jack is a dangerously thin anorexic, and David a chronic overeater. Jack dreads the six-week rehab program stretching before him, until he meets and falls for fellow anorexic Alice, a deadly thin ballerina. Despite the book’s dark themes and its peek inside Jack’s disordered world of calorie obsession and food fear, Shahan spins her story—an important one, for its rare examination of male eating disorders—with a light and funny touch.

Every Last Word, by Tamara Ireland Stone
For Samantha, having OCD means she’s subjected to a barrage of dark thoughts all day, every day. From the outside, she’s an effortless member of the popular crowd, but internally she’s struggling—not just with her own mind, but with the knowledge that her friends could drop her if they found out what’s really going on inside her head. Then new friend Caroline introduces Sam to a group of student poets—including a very intriguing boy, who was once a target of Sam’s bullying—and she starts to realize she has the power to change her life. The intense evocation of Sam’s perilous inner life, combined with a killer climax, make this one a must-read.

Finding Audrey, by Sophie Kinsella
Shopaholic author Sophie Kinsella’s first YA novel is about a teen girl finding her way back to life after a psychologically damaging incident. It’s also about the ridiculous awesomeness of overprotective parents, sibling bonds, and first love. Audrey hides behind dark glasses and finds it easiest to see life through a camera lens. She struggles with social anxiety, staying at home because she fears what’s outside. Still, Kinsella makes her protagonist’s circumscribed world worth visiting thanks to her keen observations of Audrey’s wonderfully nutty family. Audrey’s healing process is helped along by a sweet romance with a patient boy who wants to know the girl behind the sunglasses.

{{ean2}}P.S. I Still Love You, by Jenny Han
In this follow-up to To All the Boys I’ve Loved Before, in which Lara Jean’s love letters to her crushes somehow find their way from a hidden box into the hands of the boys in question, our letter-writing heroine finds herself caught between two love interests. When her affection for the boy who’s been right in front of her is tested by the reappearance of a boy from her past, she starts to wonder whether it’s possible to fall for more than one person at once.

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